MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sandra L Jackson PhD
Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC
Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Jackson: Sodium reduction is an important public health strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease, and this study was the latest in CDC’s ongoing effort to monitor U.S. sodium intake. These findings reveal that nearly all Americans – regardless of age, race and gender – consume more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.
Specifically, over 90 percent of children (2 to 18) and 89 percent of adults (19 and up) eat more than the recommended limits in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and that doesn’t even include salt added at the table. The newly released guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day for people over the age of 14, and less for those younger.
The analysis also examined specific populations. Among adults, a larger proportion of men (98 percent) than women (80 percent) consume too much sodium. Among people at greater risk of developing heart disease or stroke – such as people age 51 and older, African Americans and individuals with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension (blood pressure higher than normal but not in the “high” range) – more than three out of four exceed 2,300 mg per day. Adults with hypertension consume slightly less sodium than other adults, and may be trying to follow physician’s advice to reduce sodium. However, 86 percent of adults with hypertension still consume too much.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Jackson: The new data highlight the importance of – and support for – nationwide sodium reduction efforts, as well as opportunities for healthcare professionals to advise patients on limiting sodium in the diet. Physicians and healthcare professionals can teach patients how to read nutrition labels when choosing foods or make small changes each day to reduce sodium intake, such as eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables without added salts or sauces. Patients can also follow a diet consistent with the DASH eating plan.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Jackson: Sodium reduction is an integral part of several national, state and local initiatives to prevent cardiovascular diseases, including: Million Hearts, which aims to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017; CDC’s Sodium Reduction in Communities Program, which provides funds to 10 grantees working locally to reduce sodium in settings including government and private work sites, hospitals, independent restaurants, and distributive meal programs for older adults and preschool children; and New York City’s National Sodium Reduction Initiative, which sets voluntary reduction targets for sodium in specific packaged and restaurant food categories.
Future research could include evaluation of the progress and public health impact of these initiatives.
Sandra L Jackson PhD (2016). Nearly All Americans Consume More Salt Than Recommended MedicalResearch.com